Feb 18, 2018

X-ray reveals hidden artwork behind Picasso painting

Pablo Picasso seated at a table with many of his paintings. Photo: Gjon Mili/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Researchers using x-ray technology discovered hidden artwork beneath one of Pablo Picasso's Blue Period paintings, National Geographic reports. The 1902 painting La Misereuse Accroupie (The Crouching Beggar) analyzed by a team of researchers from U.S. and Canada revealed Picasso painted over a landscape portrait by an unknown artist.

Flashback: In 1957, Picasso said that x-ray technology might be used to reveal a hidden work in one of his earliest paintings.

The technique, called x-ray fluorescent spectroscopy, showed Picasso rotated the artwork of a Barcelona painter 90 degrees to be able to use the lines of the landscape form to create his final composition.

Why it matters: "[W]e can get into the mind of the artist and better understand the creative process," said Marc Walton, a research professor of materials science and engineering at Northwestern University.

One curious finding the researchers discovered is "the unexpected presence of an awkwardly positioned hand holding a disc," NatGeo writes. "We can see that he was wiping off the paint and working to position the fingers,” Walton, who helped develop the x-ray tool, told NatGeo.

Go deeper: Lost Artwork Found Under Famous Picasso Painting

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U.S. coronavirus updates: New York tops previous day's record death toll

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

New York's death toll surged to its highest one-day total on Wednesday — beating the previous day's record. 779 people died in the state in 24 hours. The state has reported more cases than the most-affected countries in Europe.

Why it matters: Public health officials have warned this would be a particularly deadly week for America, even as New York began to see declining trends of hospitalizations and ICU admissions.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 5 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 1,504,971 — Total deaths: 87,984 — Total recoveries: 318,068Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 424,945 — Total deaths: 14,529 — Total recoveries: 23,292Map.
  3. Federal government latest: Top Trump administration officials had been developing a plan to give cloth masks to huge numbers of Americans, but the idea lost traction amid heavy internal skepticism.
  4. States latest: Chicago's Cook County jail is largest-known source of coronavirus in U.S.
  5. Business update: One-third of U.S. jobs are at risk of disappearing, mostly affecting low-income workers.
  6. World update: WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged countries to put politics aside "if you don’t want to have many more body bags.”
  7. Environment update: COVID-19 is underscoring the connection between air pollution and dire outcomes from respiratory diseases.
  8. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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The pandemic and pollution

New York City's skyline on a smoggy day in May 2019. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

COVID-19 is underscoring the connection between air pollution and dire outcomes from respiratory diseases.

Why it matters: Old-fashioned air pollution is almost certainly the single biggest environmental health threat, contributing to the deaths of some 7 million people a year according to the WHO, making it comparable to deaths from smoking.

Go deeperArrow3 hours ago - Health